Tips for dealing with stress at University

It’s finally the end of the week, I’ve got that Friday feeling and thought it would be the perfect time to write a blog post. This week has been quite full on, I’m only actually in uni for 6 hours a week…yes that doesn’t sound a lot does it, but I’ve been really busy! Obviously we have to put extra time into our studies for extra reading, my dissertation, and added on to the top of this, I had my first presentation of the year to give this week.

I feel like I’ve learnt quite a bit about myself this week. We had to write a speech to give in our module – Communication for Leadership about anything we wanted, which I must admit didn’t take too long to decide on, my mind jumped straight to brass bands… obviously! I planned my speech last week so I was prepared for what I was going to say, but as I was already expecting, the nerves and anxiety that come with public speaking hit me about an hour beforehand.

I’ve never been one to suffer from anxiety and mental health issues very badly, although since being at university I’ve noticed it a lot more. The pressures of third year mean that there is so much more work to be doing outside of our lectures, and obviously you have to keep up a social life. So I wanted to give you a few tips on how to survive the daily stresses of uni from my perspective.

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     1.   Planning!

One of my most favourite things to do is to make ‘to do’ lists and then check them off once they’re done! Being organised and knowing what work you’ve got to do makes life so much easier, especially if you’ve got lots of lectures and little jobs you may forget about. I’ve also got a planner/diary so I don’t double book myself and it’s just a good way to see what you’ve got on and plan activities in advance. This is also good for assignment planning as it means you know how many weeks you’ve got left until that dreaded deadline.

I use a Dodo-pad as I love the layout they have, where you can make your own timetable from it, break it into different sections for your different needs, or make it look as organised or unorganised as you like with scribbles and writing. I think they actually have a specific planner for students which I’ve had before which I loved, and would highly recommend!

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     2.   Exercise 

I play netball every Tuesday with the uni recreational team, and I really enjoy it as a bit of time to have a good run around and let off a load of steam. Doing any form of exercise a couple of times a week is great to give you a boost as it releases endorphins from your brain, making you feel great afterwards! It could be as simple as going for a run, or a swim at your local leisure centre, you don’t have to join the gym, spending hundreds on a membership. Most leisure centres do concession cards, where you pay a small fee for a card which then reduces the price of things like the gym or going for a swim.  I always feel ready to tackle my books and note taking once I’ve been for a swim in the morning.

Of course it’s great to get your friends involved as a social get-together, so why not try out your uni for recreational teams to get involved in, you never know, you may make some new friends!

Exercise is known for improving the health of your body, toning you, and making you feel that little bit better about yourself. But I’ve noticed a rise in my mental health since doing more exercise, I feel a lot happier about myself, and more confident, and ready to take on whatever comes at me.

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   3.   Talk to Family and Friends

I can’t go a day without speaking to my loved ones. At the end of the day when I’m in bed scrolling through my news feeds, and flicking through Netflix, having a quick FaceTime with Paul, my mum, dad and sister really cheers me up, seeing what they’ve got up to that day, and filling them in on what I’ve got to. Spending time with your housemates and friends also means you get to socialise and destress together. Don’t forget, everyone at uni is going through exactly the same things, they’ll understand, and remember, a problem shared is a problem halved.

Going home is also really good as it gives you a chance to relax and switch off from the stresses at uni. Nothing fixes a problem for me like a cuddle from my cats.

  4.   Mental Health

Mental health is becoming more and more common to talk about, which is amazing, as it means we’re all here to support each other. The Lecturer’s at my uni are amazing, they always ask us to come in and have a chat if we want, about anything, especially if we’re not feeling that great. Talking to someone you trust about any worries you have is a great way to start if you need help. And the help zones* at university are also a great place to turn to.

*Every university varies slightly on these.*

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  5.   Believing in yourself!

I know it may sound a bit cheesy, but honestly it’s true! You can do it! It may feel like you just want to quit and give up, but just imagine the feeling when you’re in your cap and gown celebrating with all the friends you’ve made in the last 3 years, knowing that you did it yourself, and no one can ever take that away from you.

Yes it is hard, assignments, exams and dissertations weren’t designed to be easy, but if you believe you can do it, and think confidently about yourself, trust me you can do anything you want to! I wanted to give up this week at the thought of giving my speech to the rest of my class, but after I did it, it felt so simple, and I was proud of myself for doing it!

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I hope this may have helped, even in a small way to at least one person. This week has felt like a bit of a turning point at uni, where I’ve realised it’s ok to feel confident about yourself, and that being positive and prepared really do make a difference to not just my work, but my happiness.

Love Jaz x

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